Are Iran And Egypt The World's Most Gay-Friendly Cultures?

On the Fourth Wave of the World Values Survey (http://www.worldvaluessurvey.com), 93,563 adults from 62 nations were asked in face-to-face interviews the following question (A132):

“On this list of various groups of people, could you please point out any that you might not like to have as neighbors?”

The list included a wide variety of racial/ethnic/religious groups.

Most of the results are pretty much in line with what you might expect, but I did come up with a somewhat unexpected result when I checked for attitudes toward homosexuals:


BASE=93563
Weight [with split ups] Neighbours: Homosexuals 
Total           Not mentioned             Mentioned 
Country/region Albania  1000 (100%) 17.4 % 82.6 % 
Algeria  1282 (100%) 19.3 % 80.7 % 
Argentina  1280 (100%) 77.9 % 22.1 % 
Austria  1522 (100%) 74.6 % 25.4 % 
Bangladesh  1500 (100%) 95.1 % 4.9 % 
Belgium  1912 (100%) 82.6 % 17.4 % 
Bosnia and Herzegovina  1200 (100%) 35.8 % 64.2 % 
Bulgaria  1000 (100%) 46.1 % 53.9 % 
Belarus  1000 (100%) 36.7 % 63.3 % 
Canada  1931 (100%) 83.1 % 16.9 % 
Chile  1200 (100%) 67.2 % 32.8 % 
China  1000 (100%) 26.8 % 73.2 % 
Croatia  1002 (100%) 47.2 % 52.8 % 
Czech Republic  1908 (100%) 80.3 % 19.7 % 
Denmark  1019 (100%) 92.0 % 8.0 % 
Estonia  1005 (100%) 53.8 % 46.2 % 
Finland  1038 (100%) 78.7 % 21.3 % 
France  1615 (100%) 84.4 % 15.6 % 
Germany  1825 (100%) 87.1 % 12.9 % 
Greece  1142 (100%) 73.2 % 26.8 % 
Iceland  967 (100%) 92.1 % 7.9 % 
India  2002 (100%) 71.2 % 28.8 % 
Indonesia  1004 (100%) 45.4 % 54.6 % 
**Iran (Islamic Republic of)  2532 (100%) 99.1 % 0.9 %**
Ireland  1008 (100%) 72.6 % 27.4 % 
Italy  2000 (100%) 71.3 % 28.7 % 
Jordan  1223 (100%) 1.6 % 98.4 % 
Republic of Korea  1200 (100%) 17.6 % 82.4 % 
Kyrgyzstan  1043 (100%) 34.0 % 66.0 % 
Latvia  1013 (100%) 54.5 % 45.5 % 
Lithuania  1018 (100%) 32.5 % 67.5 % 
Luxembourg  1211 (100%) 81.4 % 18.6 % 
Malta  1002 (100%) 60.4 % 39.6 % 
Mexico  1535 (100%) 55.4 % 44.6 % 
Republic of Moldova  1008 (100%) 22.6 % 77.4 % 
Morocco  2264 (100%) 6.8 % 93.2 % 
Netherlands  1003 (100%) 93.8 % 6.2 % 
Nigeria  2022 (100%) 26.4 % 73.6 % 
Pakistan  2000 (100%) 100.0 % - 
Peru  1501 (100%) 50.8 % 49.2 % 
Philippines  1200 (100%) 76.4 % 23.6 % 
Poland  1095 (100%) 44.8 % 55.2 % 
Portugal  1000 (100%) 74.8 % 25.2 % 
Puerto Rico  720 (100%) 78.1 % 21.9 % 
Romania  1146 (100%) 34.8 % 65.2 % 
Russian Federation  2500 (100%) 42.1 % 57.9 % 
Singapore  1512 (100%) 54.3 % 45.7 % 
Slovakia  1331 (100%) 56.0 % 44.0 % 
Viet Nam  1000 (100%) 61.4 % 38.6 % 
Slovenia  1006 (100%) 55.7 % 44.3 % 
South Africa  3000 (100%) 53.8 % 46.2 % 
Zimbabwe  1002 (100%) 33.5 % 66.5 % 
Spain  2409 (100%) 84.4 % 15.6 % 
Sweden  1015 (100%) 93.9 % 6.1 % 
Turkey  4607 (100%) 9.8 % 90.2 % 
Uganda  1002 (100%) 23.9 % 76.1 % 
Ukraine  1195 (100%) 34.3 % 65.7 % 
Macedonia, Republic of  1055 (100%) 46.5 % 53.5 % 
**Egypt  3000 (100%) 99.6 % 0.4 %**
Great Britain  1000 (100%) 75.7 % 24.3 % 
Tanzania, United Republic Of  1171 (100%) 25.9 % 74.1 % 
United States  1200 (100%) 76.7 % 23.3 % 
Venezuela  1200 (100%) 42.6 % 57.4 % 
Serbia and Montenegro  2260 (100%) 39.4 % 60.6 % 
Northern Ireland  1000 (100%) 64.8 % 35.2 % 
Total 93563 (100%) 57.7 % 42.3 % 

As you can see, Egyptians and Iranians reported being vastly more tolerant of gays than everyone else, with more than 99% of respondents saying they had no problems with homosexuals living next door. By contrast, every single one of the 1,000 Pakistanis polled took issue with the hypothetical gay neighbors. Even the enlightened Dutch were an order of magnitude more discriminatory against gays than the Egyptians.

Can this be correct? I don’t recall ever seeing this degree of consensus (99%+) on any survey.

What is it about the Egyptian and Iranian cultures that causes them to be so much more approving of gays than the rest of us?

Thanks.

You might need to explain that data, because I see 2000 Pakistanis with the results being in line with Iran and Egypt.

Of course, some Iranians claim there are no homosexuals in their country…

IIRC, in some Middle Eastern countries homosexuality is treated as a youthful indiscretion rather than a sexual orientation. The respondents to this survey may have a different conception of what homosexuality entails than you and I.

Well seeing how it is a crime in Egypt to be gay I can’t believe for a second they are a more accepting culture. I’m confused about the poll.

maybe this is how it went down.

Man polling ‘how would you feel about a gay neighbor’

man being polled ‘well it be great if I had a gay neighbor’ ‘They’d throw his ass in jail and I could use his house as extra storage!’

Man polling ‘eh IC I guess I’ll put that down as you’d prefer a gay neighbor’

Some cultures deny that there are any gay people in their country. So it’s like asking how they would feel if they lived next door to a unicorn. That’s very far from “gay-friendly.”

The youth in Iran are pretty hip so I thought maybe that would lead to an open attitude toward gays, but I googled ‘Iran gay’ and this was the first hit and, if that’s accurate, it doesn’t seem like 99% of Iran want gaybors.

Could be a selection effect at work here. Perhaps only more tolerant, liberal-leaning individuals were interested in this survey. Not a crazy idea - Iran in particular is not an entirely open society, and doing things like this survey might not be entirely without risk. In which case, only people who’re already inclined to thumb their nose at their government a bit might be interested in doing the survey.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_by_country_or_territory

I’m thinking the question had to have been misinterpreted somehow. That, or someone altered the statistic as some kind of strange joke, and it got recorded as being real. The strict religious cultures and sanctions against perceived sexual immorality in those countries are very well known. I can’t see someone putting down those statistics knowingly, and actually believing them.

Countries that separate the sexes have a lot of homosexual experimentation. The middle east countries don’t like to discuss it. Even at weddings the women are in one room, the men in another. So men dance with each other, women with women. Whether youthful indiscretions go farther I can not say. But they are laying the groundwork.

Oh, I have no doubt that is true. But something tells me they’d be less than enthusiastic about admitting to this. As in most highly-religious environments, the passions run hot, and deep. Way down, deep below the surface. That’s where it’s the hottest, after all.

It’s made more complex by the fact that there are more or less three genders in many South Asian countries. Hijras are respected members of society in both Pakistan and India, and kothis seem to be tolerated if not encouraged, so it’s certainly very different from homosexual relations in western nations. It could well be that the average person in Pakistan wouldn’t mind living next to a hijra all that much but would be mortified at the thought of an openly gay person living on even the same street.

Funnyyou mention that.

It looks to me like Egypt and Iran are both very close to Pakistan’s 100%. Could you explain why it looks different to you?

You are correct, I misread my own table.

100% of Pakistani respondents (n=2,000) had no issues having homosexuals neighbors. By contrast, 93.2% of Moroccans (n=2,264) and 98.4% of Jordanians (n=1,223) disapproved of homosexuals.

Seems likely to me that they accidentally switched the two results.

If I understand the “mentioned” and “not mentioned” correctly, the question was open-ended, along the lines of “who would you never want as a neighbor?”

In order to include any given group in the answer, the respondent would have to think of that given group. If you’d asked my Idiot Aunt 30 years ago who would she never want as a coworker, she would never have answered “a black person” - because she didn’t think she might get a black coworker until one got hired (some 20 years ago, and boy did she bitch about it until her daughter and me pointed out her own immigrant blood); she hadn’t even seen a black person outside of a movie until that man was hired, actually.

I think Nava might be on the right track, although the question involved a list, which named homosexuals. So they would have had the prompt right in front of them. But nonetheless, as you say the responses were open ended. The respondents may not have named gays because they are so lacking in exposure to them they wouldn’t think them worth mentioning (even though they would have been prejudiced against them if they’d had to say one way or the other).

I am not an expert in survey administration but it seems to me that either the methodology is flawed, or the results are not intended to be interpreted to indicating tolerance for various groups in the way that we are discussing it.

It would also be useful to know how participants were selected, and how well the size of the sample correlates to the general population. The average is about 1500 people per country.

I infer from the instructions to interviewers that this survey was done in person. The interviewer is prompted to show the respondent “Card D” for this question, suggesting that the respondent looks at the list and then responds. The choices were:

Drug addicts
People of a different race
People who have AIDS
Immigrants/foreign workers
Homosexuals
People of a different religion
Heavy drinkers
Unmarried couples living together
People who speak a different language
(optional: minority relevant to given country, write in)

If I were designing the survey I would have required a yes/no answer for each group rather than asking them to “mention” items from a list. IMHO I would speculate that people would tend to focus on the choices that cause the most visceral reaction for them and pay less attention to the rest. Suppose the list were something like this:

Clergyman
Politician
Homosexual
Student
Engineer

Do you think you would get the same response rate for “homosexual” as with the actual list used?

In what Middle East countries is this a typical wedding? This would not be at all typical in Egypt.